Thank you, Cary Ginell, for the great live review from our show at the Stagecoach Inn in Thousand Oaks, CA. Here is the link, and the actual article is copied below, with thanks to the Thousand Oaks Acorn:

Western swing trio heats up Stagecoach Inn’s ‘After Dark’ series
CONCERT REVIEW /// Hot Club of Cowtown

October 21, 2021
By Cary Ginell
[email protected]

FIDDLING AROUND—Elana James sings and plays her violin during Hot Club of Cowtown’s Oct. 1 gig at the Stagecoach Inn Museum in Newbury Park. The museum’s “After Dark” series continues Saturday with the Honey Island Swamp Band. Photos by SUSAN WEININGER Acorn Newspapers

FIDDLING AROUND—Elana James sings and plays her violin during Hot Club of Cowtown’s Oct. 1 gig at the Stagecoach Inn Museum in Newbury Park. The museum’s “After Dark” series continues Saturday with the Honey Island Swamp Band. Photos by SUSAN WEININGER Acorn Newspapers

Back in the 1940s, Western swing, an invigorating dance music combining frontier fiddle tunes with hot jazz, was all the rage in Southern California. Bandleaders like Bob Wills and Spade Cooley regularly outdrew the likes of Tommy Dorsey at the dance halls that dotted the area.

Today, the music is rarely heard in these parts, which is what made the Hot Club of Cowtown’s Oct. 1 performance so special.

The venerable trio served as the opening act for the Stagecoach Inn Museum’s new “After Dark” series of outdoor concerts, which is being done in partnership with Thousand Oaks Alliance for the Arts, or TOArts.

The series continues at 7 p.m. Sat., Oct. 23 with the Honey Island

Swamp Band, a New Orleans group that mixes blues, roots, country and soul. Visit bapacthousandoaks.com for tickets or call (805) 498-9441 for information.

An audience of over 100 music fans took in Hot Club of Cowtown’s inaugural show.

The group has been around since 1997, anchored by violinist supreme Elana James and guitarist Whit Smith and including the trio’s newest member, bassist Zack Sapunor, who joined last summer. Despite the music’s Texas heritage, the three hail from different corners of the country: James from Prairie Village, Kansas; Smith from Greenwich, Connecticut; and Sapunor from Sacramento.
LIGHTING UP THE NIGHT—Above, Western swing trio Hot Club of Cowtown performs Oct. 1 at the first “After Dark” concert at the Stagecoach Inn Museum.

LIGHTING UP THE NIGHT—Above, Western swing trio Hot Club of Cowtown performs Oct. 1 at the first “After Dark” concert at the Stagecoach Inn Museum.

Their music is similarly wide-ranging, running the gamut from traditional hoedowns like “Ida Red” and “Sally Goodin” to pop/jazz standards like “My Melancholy Baby” and “Sweet Sue, Just You.” With their all-encompassing virtuosity and inventiveness, the Hot Club could play the label on a can of green beans and make it swing.

James’ prowess on the violin

(or fiddle, depending on the song’s style) is limitless. With bow hairs flying on tunes like Hoyle Nix’s Texas classic “Big Balls in Cowtown” and the Russian folk song “Dark Eyes,” James incorporates many styles, from Bob Wills to Joe Venuti.
Trio members, from left, are Whit Smith on guitar and vocals, Elana James on violin and vocals and Zack Sapunor on upright bass. At right, Sapunor plays his double bass.

Trio members, from left, are Whit Smith on guitar and vocals, Elana James on violin and vocals and Zack Sapunor on upright bass. At right, Sapunor plays his double bass.

Her creamy voice, with which she delivered the jazz standard “Lover Man,” among others, has a Julie London sultriness, but she is also great at tongue-in-cheek novelty numbers, including originals like the delightful “Near Mrs.,” a whimsical ditty about 25 disastrous dates.

Smith’s guitar playing owes allegiance to a bevy of Western swing pickers, notably pioneering electric guitarist Zeke Campbell of the 1930s Light Crust Doughboys. At times, Smith’s deft, highon the-neck picking approaches what Les Paul was doing with his own trio in the 1940s.

He has a friendly, Texas twangy voice, suitable for crooning Hollywood cowboy favorites like “I’m An Old Cowhand” and “San Fernando Valley” (both Bing Crosby hits).

Sapunor’s hands are all over his stand-up bass, plucking, slapping and pummeling the instrument. When a band has only three musicians, a bass has to serve as an entire rhythm section by itself, and Sapunor fills that bill admirably, in addition to taking wild solos of his own.

Hot Club of Cowtown doesn’t limit itself to the works of Wills, the genre’s most famous figure.

The music’s unfairly neglected founder, Fort Worth vocalist Milton Brown, was represented by an exuberant performance of the 1906 Tin Pan Alley standard “Chinatown, My Chinatown.” Another highlight was the trio’s explosive playing on “Farr-Away Blues,” a fiery 1946 instrumental, a tune few groups dare to tackle, originated by the Sons of the Pioneers’ fiddle/guitar brother duo, Hugh and Karl Farr.

The band’s astute sense of pacing saw the hot jazz cool off occasionally with tunes like Wills’ classic “Faded Love” and James’ charming waltz “Before You.”

The Stagecoach Inn audience sat in their lawn chairs and applauded appreciatively although no one got up to dance, a phenomenon unheard of when this group performs in Texas.

Still, after a quarter century of keeping Western swing alive, it’s nice to know that the Hot Club of Cowtown is still swinging.